Former Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity outside-back Richard Owen hopes to get his rugby league career back on track after joining Doncaster RLFC on a one-year deal.
The 27-year-old was found not guilty of committing sex offences against a woman following a trial at Leeds Crown Court in May. He was also cleared of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and theft.
Owen has played over 150 games in Super League, scoring 300 points in the process.
Owen told Dons’ official website: “It’s the right time in my life to get back to playing rugby, Carl [Hall] has made me feel really welcome and I feel that it’s a good club for me.
“I’ve had a few clubs interested but when I spoke to Richard Horne and Carl Hall they sounded genuine and that’s the sort of people I need in my life.
“I’m happy to play wherever the coach wants me, being back in the team environment is what I want so I’m buzzing to get started.”
Head coach Richard Horne said: “We’re happy to have Richard on board with us, he’s a quality player and will really add something to the squad we have.
“He has a lot of experience from his time in Super League and after speaking to him, he is very focused on helping us achieve our goal in pushing for promotion.”
Chief executive Carl Hall said: “It’s great for us to have secured Richard Owen’s signature, meeting him was similar to when we signed Paul Cooke from the conversation we had.
“If Richard can have a similar impact then we’ll have a real good player on our hands, his experience of playing at the top level could be key for us.
“He feels the time is right for him to come back into the game, I would like to welcome him to our club and I’m sure the fans will do the same.”
In 2012 Owen was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence and also ordered to undertake 200 hours of community service after punching a man dressed as Father Christmas in a brawl in Pontefract, leaving him unconscious and with a broken jaw.
In a statement to Castleford supporters, Owen said: “After enduring a year out from playing with my career-threatening leg injury, I went into a dark period of my life.
“I let my family, club and all its wonderful supporters down. I am not proud of what happened and offer no excuses but just want you all to know how deeply sorry I am to each and every one of you.”